mon coeur de campagne

living a simpler, rural French life


1 Comment

Journées du Patrimoine

Le Jardin de Cuy

An oasis of charm in the wild Morvan

Image-1

It was cold and wet for this year’s Open House weekend so I decided to stay close to home and explore a garden that I had never visited before.

Le Jardin de Cuy is a Jardin Remarquable designed around a maison forte. The origins of the fortified house date from the 14th century and until the French Revolution it was the home of the Seigneurs de Cuy.  In 2001 the present owners began to transform one of the meadows into a garden full of romance and charm.

The paths through the two hectare sized, contemporary garden lead along fruit trees, a terraced garden with dark leafed plants,  potager or kitchen garden,  and a cut flower enclosure, an oval with tall grasses; and there are herbaceous mixed borders around the ancient courtyard.

There is an ancient cypress tree standing sentinel-like alongside the house, an avenue of 25 swamp oaks and lots of interesting plants – even a pistachio tree.

Water adds to the sense of calm with four small lakes in a row, hedge homes for wildlife and a gently sloping valley with Charolais cows.

Until the end of September the garden is acting as the perfect backdrop for sculptures made using local clay created by sculptor Andrew McGarva.

http://www.acmcgarva.com/sculptures/

To find out more http://www.journees-du-patrimoine.com/DEPARTEMENT/journees-patrimoine-58-nievre.htm

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Bon 1er mai!

Happy May Day!

IMG_4280

May Day started with a friend wishing me a Bon 1er mai and sending a Lily of the Valley posy.

The tradition started on May 1st 1561 when King Charles IX of France offered the ladies of the court a sprig of Lily of the Valley or Muguet as a lucky charm.  Over the years it has evolved into a way of showing friendship.  The florists and markets are full of Lily of the Valley in the lead up to the 01 May.  The local Prefrecture had to issue a warning this year not to pick too many from the woods.

The sunshine, bird song and wild flowers mean that spring is finally here.  The dark nights are over and there is a feeling of celebration in the air.  The long holiday weekend also celebrates the Fete du Travail.

spinning wheel

We spent a sunny afternoon with friends showing us how to spin and weave.  Spinning has been used for thousands of years as a way of producing yarn.  Charlotte enjoyed using a Spinning Wheel using wool from local sheep, a method in use for centuries since the Middle Ages.  She might be taking up spinning as a new hobby and wants to make a rug using wool she has spun herself.  A good start to the month.

 

 

 


2 Comments

Blue Monday

91958

Blue Monday?  Today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year.

It’s all white here!!!


Leave a comment

Verre de L’amitié

champagne

 

Last night, the Mayor invited everyone in our commune to toast the New Year with a verre de l’amitié, a glass of friendship.  We made it through the snow thanks to a lift from friends with winter tyres on their car.  The snow was so pretty and the Christmas lights in the centre of the village made it look very festive.

It was nice to see so many people there from our small community.  The Mayor welcomed and thanked everyone who had managed to get there.  He then thanked everyone who works or volunteers for the village, the school, the library and various associations.   He outlined what work had been done around the commune and plans for the coming year.  There was a poignant moment when he asked us to remember everyone who had been touched by terrorism and for those that had passed away.

The champagne was flowing but as we are having a dry January we politely declined.  A first for both of us!  Despite lots of attempts to fill my glass I managed to stick to orange juice until the Mayor handed me a glass of champagne – it would have been rude to say no!  I discreetly passed it to a neighbour who was more than happy to drink it for me.

For a small commune of around 200 people we are an international and friendly bunch made up of mostly French, a couple of Dutch (the numbers of Dutch increases in the summer!!), an English family (us), a German couple, a Texan and a South African.

We thanked the Mayor and asked if he could organise more evenings like this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

A close call

  
Freezing fog, snow, frost and icy roads. We are in the grip of winter.  Our region, La Nievre has been on alert for bad weather this weekend and we’ve been advised not to drive unless you have to.

The snow has been melting and we went to see friends 10 minutes drive away and the roads were clear. On the way back I suggested driving back a different route and on the hill up to our house the road was unbelievably slippery. Our tyres couldn’t get a grip and I had a flash back to my car crash. Very scarey!

A wolf has been spotted not far away! An animal has been attacking sheep and a very wolf-like animal has been caught on camera.  The authorities are taking the threat seriously and are investigating.

So maybe it isn’t so bad staying close to home and hibernating!


Leave a comment

La Brame de Cerf

cer-s_guillerault

La brame de cerf.  Photo credit: S.Guillerault

 

Le premier jour d’automne, the first day of autumn and it’s sunny and glorious.  The days are getting shorter and as twilight falls,  a guttural, roaring can be heard from the heart of the forest.  It is the cerf, the stag, the “King of the Forest” challenging his rivals.

If you are lucky you might hear la brame du cerf as you drive along in the twilight near Forest Bertranges, near Moulins Engilbert .  Look out for groups of people huddled along the side of the road waiting and then suddenly someone gets a tip off and everyone jumps into their cars to get nearer the sound.

Or wrap up warm, take a torch and join a guided tour into the woods where you will be sure to hear la brame du cerf and enjoy an apero too.

It is an unforgettable experience to hear the primeval sounds of this magnificent beast.

Click here for tour details: http://www.nievre-tourisme.com/agenda/soiree-brame-du-cerf-a-la-lanterne-fmabou058v501xjc/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Portes Ouvertes

le-chateau

Art and history – my bliss!  This weekend the privately owned 15th century, Chateau de Thard opened it’s doors as part of Les Journèes Europeènes du Patrimoine.

The heritage weekend takes place the third weekend of September across France.  Each year there is a theme and this year’s was Patrimoine et citoyennetè.   Public offices, monuments, historical sites, churches and chateaux open their doors to the public for a visit behind the scenes.

Chateau de Thard, a joli petit manoir, near Onlay proved to be a hidden treasure.  We drove up a long drive hidden in the woods, which opened out to amazing views high above Onlay.

The Chateau was also a perfect backdrop for an art exhibition featuring a variety of pottery, sculpture, oils, watercolours, prints and collages.

  
    IMG_2981.jpg
  

http://www.chateaudethard.com